The Republican Party doesn’t like what they are seeing.
On Friday, Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, submitted a formal complaint regarding the ethical conduct of the New York judge overseeing the civil fraud trial of former President Trump. In her complaint, Stefanik alleges that Judge Arthur Engoron has exhibited inappropriate bias and a lack of judicial impartiality towards the former president and calls for his resignation.
According to The Hill, Stefanik contends that Judge Engoron has demonstrated clear judicial bias against Trump and has violated several provisions within the state’s judicial code of conduct. She wrote a letter to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, expressing concern that the judge’s behavior is not in line with the principles of due process and a fair trial for the defendant. Stefanik emphasizes the seriousness of these concerns, especially considering Trump’s status as the leading candidate in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
In her letter, Stefanik echoes arguments made by Trump’s legal team during the case, including the assertion that there were no victims of the former president’s business dealings and that Judge Engoron had prematurely prejudged the case.
Prior to the commencement of the trial, Judge Engoron ruled that Trump, the Trump Organization, and several executives, including Trump’s adult sons, were liable for fraud. This ruling jeopardized Trump’s business licenses and put some of his well-known properties at risk. However, a New York appeals court temporarily suspended the revocation of the business licenses until Trump’s case is heard.
During the ongoing seven-week trial, Judge Engoron has emerged as an unexpected adversary for Trump. The two clashed as Trump testified in the case brought against him by the New York attorney general. Trump expressed his belief that the judge would rule against him, citing previous decisions.
Judge Engoron frequently objected to Trump’s lengthy and politically charged responses to the state’s questions, urging Trump’s attorney, Chris Kise, to keep the former president on track. At one point, Engoron issued a limited gag order preventing Trump and other parties from discussing his principal law clerk, whom Trump’s team has accused of bias and anti-Trump sentiments.
Stefanik’s letter delves into the clerk’s alleged political contributions to Democratic donors and causes while also criticizing the gag order. Stefanik argues that defendants, particularly those who believe the legal process is being politicized against them, should have the constitutional right to voice their concerns. She deems the gag order as un-American.
The Hill reached out to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct for a response, but a spokesperson for the commission stated that all matters before the commission are confidential by law, unless a judge is found to have committed ethical misconduct and a decision to that effect is issued.
The New York attorney general’s office is seeking $250 million in financial penalties and a ban on Trump and his executives from conducting business in the state. The state concluded its case on Wednesday, and Trump’s legal team is expected to present their case on Monday.